Tropical Florida Gardens - What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Tropical Florida Gardens

What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Planting and Caring Tips for Your Lychee Tree

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 7th

The season is upon us for harvesting the fruit of the Lychee tree. Despite the fruits addictive flavor, it remains one of China’s best kept secrets. Lychees have a rough outer skin that separates easily leaving you with a flesh that is sweet to sub-acid, aromatic and tastes unlike anything else on earth.

In SW Florida, fruit is ready for a short time in late May through early July and has a very short shelf life.

The trees were introduced to Florida in the 1930’s and some of the larger commercial groves are in an area southwest of Miami. They grow best in the subtropical climates where temperatures are cool and dry for a short time in the winter months.

Lychees do not like wet feet, so be sure to plant your tree in well drained soil. Trees can also be planted on a mound to ensure proper drainage. The native soil of Florida is fine for successful growing.

Tips for Growing & Caring for Lychee trees:

  • Temperature: Thrive in subtropical environments. Heavy tropical environments may result in no fruit production. Mature trees can withstand a light frost, but prolonged temperatures below 32 degrees may result in damage or even kill the tree.
  • Best Dooryard Varieties: Hak Ip, Sweet Heart, Kwai Mai Pink and Mauritius. Commercial varieties such as: Brewster and Emperor are larger trees that may not be suited for a smaller yard.
  • Avg. Height and Width: Varies with the variety, Lychee trees range from about 20 to 40 feet tall. Average is 25’ X 25”.
  • Native Range: Common in areas of Southern China. Commercial plantations are common in Hawaii and Florida.
  • Fertilize established trees regularly 1 to 2 times during the growing season from spring to the end of summer.
  • Water: Lychees need regular watering during the growing season. Soils with too much salt in them, especially in the Southwest require regular watering to prevent salt build-up. Lychees should not be in standing water, as it will stunt their growth. Newly planted trees should be watered 2 to 3 times a week during the first weeks of planting, but can be reduced once the tree is established
  • Prune mature trees to help control the size and shape. The University of Florida Extension office recommends not cutting branches that are larger than 1 inch, or you risk having less fruit production.

During Lychee season, we will be selling Lychee fruit at the Downtown Farmers Market at Centennial Park Thursdays from 7am to 1pm.

Visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Garden Shoppe to see some of the varieties we have available. The horticulture staff is available to assist you and to answer any questions you may have.

56 Responses

  1. Tropical Fruit Trees That Grow Best in SW Florida | Tropical Gardens of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Says:

    […] Lychee – The Lychee is a native of China and Asia, but thrives in our SW Florida climate. Pine Island is a very large commercial producer with fruit arriving in late May through early July. A larger tree growing upwards of 40 feet tall, producing fruit after about 3 to 5 years and preferring well drained soil with some wind protection. […]

    Posted on June 7th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

  2. Brian T. Apo Says:

    Can you tell me why our older lychee tree no longer bears fruit. 35 years ago, it was a fantastic fruiter, yielding large amounts of fruit.

    Posted on February 6th, 2013 at 10:08 pm

  3. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    A tree may not reach its prime condition until it is 20-40 years old and continue to produce for 100 years.

    Problems with fruiting are sometimes weather related (too cold at flowering)…
    sometimes stress related, too dry or a weakened condition due to insect or disease.

    Steve Hottovy
    Edison Ford Horticulturist

    Posted on February 14th, 2013 at 6:11 pm

  4. Wanda Says:

    Hi, I’m in southeast Florida and have two trees approximately 25-30 years old. We we get those cold winters we get great fruit. Last year the small fruits (tiny and green) fell off and we had no fruit. It seems to be starting again this year. Could this be a water problem, too little? There is no grass under the trees to speak of by their choice! Should I fertilize now or would that make things worse? Any help would be appreciated, we love our lychees.

    Posted on March 21st, 2013 at 9:39 am

  5. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Wanda,
    I have heard this from several people about their lychees losing fruit again this year because it wasn’t cold again this winter.
    Our tree here at the Estates is close to 80 years old, and it takes a break every now and again. Lychees can be alternate bearing.
    You didn’t mention what variety. Sweetheart doesn’t give fruit every year at all-neither does emperor. We have the variety called Brewster and it is especially
    Good-we didn’t have fruit last year, but we are loaded so far this year. They haven’t started falling off yet. It still has a while to go-fruits in late June and through July if we are lucky.
    The birds get a lot!
    We do not fertilize at all. It gets irrigation twice a week-the leaves look lusciously green.
    Fertilizing would probably only make the tree grow more leaves-not necessarily produce fruit. The tree will drop what it can not support in fruit because of reasons we don’t always understand.
    I was told by a couple yesterday that let someone cut their fruit off 2 years ago-they told me that they haven’t had fruit since.
    When I pick fruit I do not cut off-I just pick the fruit with a fruit picker. Try this instead of cutting off branches.
    Try watering at least once a week for a 1/2 hour.

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on April 11th, 2013 at 1:06 pm

  6. Stephen Says:

    We have two lychee trees which is about 4 years and its growing straight. Since last year we have noticed something like small spiky jack fruit type fruit growing on it. It does not ripen but just grows bigger till we cut it off. Now this looks strange on a lychee tree, but does such thing grow before the actual lychee fruit? Please guide.

    Posted on May 12th, 2013 at 6:54 am

  7. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Stephen,
    It sounds like your fruit is not performing right yet. You are getting what some call the “chicken tongues” that are supposed to not hinder the real fruit production. They stick straight up and are inferior. Maybe your Lychee tree is too young to produce with enough vigor. Give it a couple more years, but hopefully it is not a genetic problem. Lychees are often alternate bearers. Lychee fruit is best left on the tree to ripen. They won’t ripen well after picking. The weather for best fruit production is dry and cold (non-freezing) in the winter months, warm spring during flowering (March), and hot and humid summer for fruit maturation. Perfect for Florida!

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on June 5th, 2013 at 4:11 pm

  8. Lenea Says:

    My tree in Cape Coral is about 6 feet tall. We have lived in this house for 3 years. There were about 6 “fruits” 2 years ago and none since. The leaves have serious “gnaw” marks but I can’t see what the infestation might be. Should I spray?…and spray with what? Thanks very much.

    Posted on May 24th, 2013 at 11:51 am

  9. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Lenea,

    You bring up a good point-should you spray or not. First and foremost, we should only spray a chemical of any kind (unless it is soap spray) on plants unless we know what we are spraying for aschemicals are specific to insects and pathologies.
    The gnaw marks on your leaves gives me a clue though- These insects exist on some of our leaves in our gardens as the Sri Lankan Weevil. This weevil came to United States through Miami over 5 years ago, and it has been trouble ever since. It has many plants that it attacks including Mangoes, Citrus, Loquats, Papayas, Peaches, Black Sapotes, Lychees, Avocados etc. (over 150 different types of plants). They are the greatest gnawers of all time. The trouble with the gnaw marks becomes the problem from the lack of enough food produced for the trees to flower and fruit. It seems to set back fruit production on quite a few of our fruiting trees. I do a mass attack with a bucket of soapy water and knock them into the bucket. People do use acephate to a good result, but I don’t think it is labeled for fruit trees. That is the major problem many of our insecticides are not labeled for fruit and vegetables to take care of this weevil. I have found the scouting for these weevils who often live on the undersurface of the leaves and have a defense characteristic of falling to the ground when disturbed, make it difficult but not impossible. I spend a few minutes every day with this soapy water and that can put a dent in their populations especially to reproduce.

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on June 5th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

  10. Sora Says:

    Can lychee trees be grown in other states? Oklahoma can be pretty humid and sometimes wet, dry, during the summer. The winters are a bit odd there, too. Can they be grown in Texas? San Antonio is pretty hot and humid, too. Just a small question.

    Posted on July 23rd, 2013 at 2:05 am

  11. Joji Castro Says:

    Im from the tropics, Philippines. I just planted the lychee seeds and they’ve easily grown. Our weather is dry and wet (50/50) over a year. Our temp ranges from 22C (Sept~Feb)and up 28~35C during summer (Mar~June). Will the lychee be able to thrive in our environment?

    Thank you, regards

    Posted on August 12th, 2013 at 1:17 am

  12. rahul Says:

    if i will cut branches of my lychee tree will it produce white color liquid????? and how can i sure that it is a lychee tree if it is too small???

    Posted on August 27th, 2013 at 4:25 pm

  13. Sea Says:

    My Lychee tree is losing leaves. What could be the problem? It does not have wet feet.

    Posted on October 21st, 2013 at 12:00 pm

  14. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi SEa-There are many reasons lychee drop leaves-reasons could be cold, wind, or a really wet area. Try fertilizing the lychee(citrus of fruit fertilizer) during the spring when new leaves are emerging. The lychees do require seasonal temperature variations. Although they prefer warm humid summers, they do require some cool hours(chilling hours) between 32-45. I said chill not cold. They do like winter to be cooler and dry.

    Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist

    Come see our Brewster variety of Lychee on the Edison Ford
    Winter Estates property. WE are open 9-5:30 every day for tours.

    Posted on January 10th, 2014 at 2:45 pm

  15. Ken Says:

    Planted in South Florida about two and a half years ago. The leaves are getting brown at the edges and dropping off.



    Posted on October 29th, 2013 at 12:51 pm

  16. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Ken-The edges of the leaves turning brown on your Lychee tree could be anthracnose, too much water, or too little water and the cells of the leaves burst. Hopefully it will just grow out of during the winter months. Try giving it a fruit tree fertilizer in small amount (read label).

    Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist

    Come see our lychee trees that Edison planted in the 1920’s. We are open from 9-5 every day. We offer Garden Tours on Wed. at 10:30am

    Posted on January 10th, 2014 at 2:59 pm

  17. Jean Warren Says:

    When and how and are you supposed to prune a lychee tree? Ours is about four years old and we have never pruned, shaped, or touched the tree. It is a lot taller than six feet, but looks healthy. We’ve never seen a bloom. How long before it is fruitful?

    Posted on December 2nd, 2013 at 11:59 am

  18. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Jean-Lychees will start producing fruit anywhere from 5-10 years old-depending on whether it is a grafted variety. The first few years of any fruit even if it is four years old from a new plant, it needs to work for several years on it’s roots first. Once the tree gets to at least 6 feet or more, it is a good idea to trim the leader to encourage he tree to have lower branches thus easier harvesting when you do get fruit. Don’t lose faith, it is typical for some varieties of Lychee to alternate bear anyway. They will produce a lot one year and none the next. Not sure what variety you have, but the fruit is awesome tasting when just picked. Fruit from the grocery store is not as fresh and tasty.

    Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist

    Posted on January 10th, 2014 at 12:38 pm

  19. Vikash Says:


    is there anything we can put to the flowers so that they all become fruits as most of the flowers are falling.

    Posted on December 8th, 2013 at 9:46 am

  20. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Vikash-The tree can only handle so many fruits each year. Some varieties will fruit better on alternate years. You can improve the potential by using a balanced fertilizer for fruit trees during growing season in the spring. The flowers begin in late spring into summer. Our lychee tree fruits all July because we have Brewster variety. It is very large and hard to pick all of the fruit. There is a benefit to keeping the tree with low branches so all of the harvest is not lost to birds etc.

    Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist

    Posted on January 10th, 2014 at 12:33 pm

  21. Cindy Says:

    My lychee tree is in Kilauea on the north shore of Kauai. It is about 35 years old, and a very large, fine looking tree. My neighbor is afraid it is going to fall on her house, and she called an arborist. He recommends cutting the tree down to 3 to 4 feet. I was appalled. The arborist said it will send out lots of shoots by the time a year passes. The tree does not fruit often, but the fruit is fabulous when it does. It doesn’t get cold enough, long enough here. I fear if the tree is cut to this degree, it will come back with a ugly shape of a lot of tiny branches coming from the three branching trunks that are 30″, 40″ and 52″ in diameter. The base trunk is 83″ in diameter. I would guess the tree is about 40-50 feet tall. There is a place that water collects in the crotch of two of the main trunks. The arborist says the tree could have crotch rot there. The arborist says my tree appears to be very healthy. Any advice?

    Posted on March 25th, 2014 at 11:55 pm

  22. Blanca Ramos Says:

    My lychee tree is about 4 years old and it maybe 2 to3 feet tall
    A water but very little progress.
    It get sun from the west, what’s the problem ?
    I don’t know the variety. Please advise.

    Posted on April 2nd, 2014 at 9:24 am

  23. Blanca Ramos Says:

    I. Have a lychee trees it’s about 3 years old and no progress
    It get the west sun, I water 2or 3 times weekly with hose maybe not enough.
    I don’t know the variety.
    Please advise

    Posted on April 2nd, 2014 at 9:29 am

  24. Allison Says:

    I purchased a home recently with a mature 25′ sparsely fruiting Lychee tree. ALL the leaves have been eaten around the edges. I can not find any weevils or caterpillars on any of the leaves that I can reach and the tree is too tall to use insecticidal soaps or oils. What do you suggest?

    Posted on June 6th, 2014 at 9:28 am

  25. Robbie Says:

    I have four lychee tree growing in Jamaica and they never fruit,is it because of the temperature .

    Posted on June 28th, 2014 at 10:26 am

  26. Mary Walton Says:

    i have a Brewster lychee tree. It bore fruit 2 years ago bountifully. None since then. It drops leaves and the edges are brown. It as a large canopy, fertilized and watered.
    Any suggestions ?

    Posted on June 29th, 2014 at 10:18 pm

  27. Bryan Timothy Says:

    I have a litchee tree about 15 years old
    it bore a full crop of fruit for several years
    in 2012 I pruned the tree and since then I have not had a crop of fruit.
    what do I do for it to bear fruit again

    Posted on November 18th, 2014 at 10:06 am

  28. Bibi Says:

    I have a lychee tree that bore beautiful fruit 4 years ago. It did not bear since then, what should I do?.

    Posted on January 24th, 2015 at 3:47 pm

  29. Linda Says:

    I planted my very first lychee tree last year, and IT IS NOW BLOOMING. I have been told that I need to cut off most of the blooms to ensure better fruit production in coming years. Is this true?

    Posted on March 30th, 2015 at 9:38 pm

  30. Andy Says:

    My lychee tree is about 9 yrs old and 16′ – 18′ tall. I have pure black muck for soil(glades area). It is growing very quickly, but it hardly produces any fruit at all. This year it looks like i will get less than a dozen lychees. Some years it blooms well, but almost all of the fruit drops off. Is there a solution?

    Posted on May 21st, 2015 at 4:54 pm

  31. F. Akter Says:

    I have some litchi tree about 14 years old. What is the water requirement for these trees?

    Posted on June 4th, 2015 at 5:39 am

  32. Mathew Says:

    Hey i have seeds for my lychee tree but dont know how to grow it. Do i just slap the seed in dirt and water it?

    Posted on June 6th, 2015 at 2:22 pm

  33. wilson dondo Says:

    I would like to buy an adult lychee tree already producing fruits. Any suggestion where I can find in SW Miami ?

    thank you

    Posted on June 26th, 2015 at 1:25 pm

  34. Susie Says:

    Hello, I recently purchased the sweetheart tree(2 wks ago). We planted in the ground, I give it plenty of water. With in the first wk I noticed the tips of leaves and along the edges are brown. We’re now on wk three and there’s no change. I’m not sure what do? I’ve been reading online and the only thing I can find is adequate water. What else can I do? Or should I do?

    Posted on June 30th, 2015 at 2:39 am

  35. Chuck Hammer Says:

    Recently have had weevils eating the leaves of a lychee tree. We treated foliage with imidacloprid several times and the weevils have left the tree alone now for several weeks. We are now experiencing a leaf die back and the tree is dropping leaves at a high rate. Most of the dropping leaves appear to be the eaten ones. The new growth is looking droopy and some of the new growth is curled. This is a large tree 40″ and roughly 30 years old. Any thoughts or suggestions?


    Posted on November 19th, 2015 at 7:09 am

  36. Kim Lucas Says:

    Hi my father has a lychee tree, it has alot of green lychees at the moment, he says however that they are often stung and the fruit go to waste. What can I do to help prevent this from happening?

    We are in Queensland, Australia.

    Posted on December 9th, 2015 at 6:01 am

  37. Peggy Says:

    I live in desert zone 9. I planted a sweetheart lychee last spring. It lost all leaves in winter. Will it grow back this spring or is it dead? The branches and twigs are brittle. PLEASE HELP. IT WAS A VERY EXPENSIVE TREE. It’s 5 feet tall

    Posted on February 23rd, 2016 at 11:39 am

  38. Sofian Says:

    Pls I need to buy lychee . If can any one sand to me . I am in Malaysia

    Posted on March 19th, 2016 at 11:14 am

  39. Ivan Says:

    Hi, i have moved a big lychee tree from my village to my house. I have cut all the branch, its been 1month now in my house and its starting to grow a new branch. But recently the raining season has passed and the weather quite hot in bali. How much water should i put to my lychee tree?because its start to lose the new young leaf and looks like goin to die. The circumference of the tree is 183cm. Please give me guidance to save my lychee trees. Thanks

    Posted on April 15th, 2016 at 9:09 pm

  40. tess samonte Says:

    I live in the Philippines. I have a lychees tree about 15 -20 yrs o;d now. It hasn’t bear fruit. Please teach me how to have my lychees bear fruit. thank you.

    Posted on April 21st, 2016 at 6:40 am

  41. Beth Kring Says:

    I have 60 Lychees and a lot of Mangos that seem to be damaged with a web , but I can’t find the cause of the damage to the baby fruit. Is it a spider or mite ? Is there someway to save the fruit?

    Posted on May 8th, 2016 at 12:12 pm

  42. Yvonne Lattimore Says:

    We live in Riverview, Fl. Our Brewster lychee was planted five years ago. This plant blossomed but did not hold fruit. Is this indicative of a mineral deficiency.

    Posted on May 20th, 2016 at 10:44 am

  43. Lance Monlux Says:

    I have an agricultural degree from UHH and have been working with fruit trees for 40 years. In nature when a fruit tree that has not bore fruit yet is shocked such as blowing over in a storm or cracking at the stump, it will usually flower and produce fruit as a survival mechanism. To take advantage of this you can girdle the trunk of a tree that has not produced or is under producing. (not a young tree that is not of age to produce)The technique involves cutting the bark 1/2 way up the trunk in a circle around the tree the width of 2 fingers. DO NOT cut the bark all the way (tree may die) but leave a connection 1/2 the length of your fingers or the full length of your finger for larger trunks. Remove the bark and the next part is critical. You must scrape off the vascular cambium which is the layer under the bark. You will know when you are through it as only wood will scrape off. To prevent infection cover the exposed wood with pruning paint or another suitable substance. This method has always been successful for me epically with citrus trees. I used this method last year in the Tampa Bay area on my 5 year old Lychee tree that had never flowered and it bore a profuse harvest of lychees. The problem was with harvesting, as the fruit fell off before maturing while still green. This year the set is not as profuse as last year but the fruit is already bigger then last year and still on the tree. I used this technique on my 7 year old mango tree that had not bore fruit and got 15 mangos this season and expect many more next year.

    Posted on June 29th, 2016 at 1:02 pm

  44. Henry Charles Ng Says:

    I have a five year old Bosworth lychee tree in a 65cm pot all this while because my home was destroyed by fire some 3.5 years ago and I had it dug out from the ground and potted it for safe keeping knowing the builders rebuilding my home would have destroyed it.
    All this while in the pot, it didn’t do much growing but it did look healthy.
    Recently, the leaves were turning brown at its edges and I fear something is wrong; something I may have done. A month ago, I fed it a NPK fertiliser (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) purchased and since then the leaves had been turning brown. Never occurred to me that it may have been the fertiliser. Would my diagnosis be correct? If so, what should I do? Your prompt response would be much appreciated.

    Posted on October 15th, 2016 at 3:19 am

  45. Jerry Roos Says:

    I planted a Dwarfh Mauritian litchee about 10 years ago in Durban, SA. It was obtained from a nursery as a cutting as propagation by seed is a no no. Some 3 years ago, when the tree reached a near 2 meter in height, the first fruits appeared. They were 6 in number and pathetic. For the last 2 years fruit production was also poor with no realisable or edible fruit. This year, the tree has abundant fruit and I am waiting in anticipation for the fruit to ripen on the tree. I also mention the fact that a row of shoots has appeared around the base of the tree and I assume that these shoots arise from a shallow root. Should they be removed?

    Posted on October 22nd, 2016 at 8:11 am

  46. Beverley Cunningham Says:

    I have a lychee tree (not sure what variety), I live in south Florida. While we were chopping down some dead trees on our property, a heavy breach fell onto my lychee tree and snapped a couple of branches off. Would I be able to save these and root them and should I give some food to the tree to save it from “shock”
    Thank you for your time.


    Posted on November 13th, 2016 at 3:04 pm

  47. Johnny Gama Says:

    I’m in Zimbabwe Africa, I see some people have thriving litch tree meaning litch can grow well here. but no one knows how the trees were planted;by seeds or grafting . now my query is ,how can I have a grafted tree especially here in zimbabwe

    Posted on January 4th, 2017 at 6:51 am

  48. Cletus Dsilva Says:

    Hi sir…
    We have 6 litchi trees it’s not bearing fruits from 3 years.trees are 12 years old….beginning we used to get good fruits….location is coorg district Karnataka India…..plz inform…wat to do…
    Thank you sir…..

    Posted on January 8th, 2017 at 4:46 am

  49. Jill Houser Says:

    Could you advise if lychee or tropical fruit growers in Florida have any problems with Fruit Spotting Bug and if so, what do they use to control the bug.

    Posted on February 6th, 2017 at 6:32 pm

  50. Lucinda Hokanson Says:

    I purchased a home in June of last year with a very large Lychee tree. I’m told one of the largest in the state. I am interested in having someone harvest and remove the fruit when it’s ready this year. I live in St Petersburg Fl. Any suggestions? Email above please.

    Posted on February 19th, 2017 at 2:51 pm

  51. Farhad Says:

    What care can I do for small lechee plants I’m trying to grow???
    Thank u

    Posted on April 15th, 2017 at 10:13 am

  52. Jesse Zambrana Says:

    I have sweethearts and Brewsters, both are 5 years old, on some of the trees the leaves are curling,drying and falling off. I live in Central Florida which is dry, I do water regularly with no results. What is going on, as of this posting, I have 16 trees with this condition, need help.

    Posted on April 26th, 2017 at 5:39 pm

  53. Emmanuel Says:

    Hello. I bought a small lychee tree from Mauritius islands, about 2 feet high. I had it shipped to the south of France and received it on the 23rd of March. Since then, it hasn’t grown whatsoever. I planted it in my garden, it never gets below 35 degrees here by the way. I have almonds, lemon, orange trees producing a lot each year. The soil drains a lot here, so my lychee tree doesn’t get its feet constantly wet. Why doesn’t it want to grow at all? Its now been one and a half month and nothing. A week ago, i trimmed it a little, hoping to have the baby tree starting to grow, still no luck. Any help will be welcome 🙂

    Posted on May 17th, 2017 at 9:03 am

  54. Belliappa K K Says:

    Want to know how to protect fruits from insect and worm attack

    Posted on December 1st, 2017 at 10:59 pm

  55. Francisco Says:

    How much water. A 15 year old tree
    Does need and every how Many day’s
    Dit I sould wait until the flower
    Come out?

    Also went is the best time to
    Aply some citrus fruit ferilizer

    Thankyou very much.

    Posted on December 28th, 2017 at 10:07 pm

  56. ron garcia Says:


    I have a ten year lychee tree and finally getting fruits but before it rippens the skin rips and come apart.

    Can you help?

    I appreciate it and greatful to you

    Posted on April 28th, 2018 at 8:58 pm